Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Managing Revit Model Standards with Worksets & Usernames

Back in the AutoCAD days typically a CAD Manager would manage all the AutoCAD templates & blocks. Everything was available to all the design staff to use but they were not freely allowed to edit templates or blocks. This became a "check & balance" that made sense because it's much easier to manage a standard if there is not a "free for all" on it. If there was a "free for all" then drawing sets would not be consistent and things would run less efficient. This is why a CAD Manager typically has had things like templates and blocks locked down thus the term "CAD Nazi" became widely known.

With the switch from AutoCAD to Revit I have noticed that standards can get very messy very quick in Revit. There are several ways this happens. A few ways I have seen this happen is copying from other projects, transferring project standards or the model was never setup properly to begin with so designers just made things up on their own. For example often times a designer doesn't even know that they copied in several viewport types, text types and line types from a few different projects when they copied a few details.

Let's take a step back and make sure we are clear on the different types of standard items in a Revit model that can impact consistency between several disciplines:

System Families - Callout Types, Dimension Styles, Text Styles, Elevation Types, Grid Types, Level Types, Section Types, Viewport Types (View Titles)

Component Families (Symbol & Tag) - Title Block, Callout Head, Section Head, Section Tail, Level Heads, Grid Heads, North Arrow, Graphic Scale, View Title, Revision Tag, View Reference, Room Tag, Space Tag, Keynote Tag
*Discipline Specific Tags (Door, Window, Duct, Beam, Panel, etc.)

Project Settings - Line Weights, Object Styles, Project Units, Phase Settings

Most people might not know that most of these items can be made editable in the Worksets Manager. For example if the Callout Types were made editable by someone with the username "BIM Manager" when a designer goes to try to edit a callout type it will give a permissions message saying "You do not have permissions to edit this element BIM Manager has ownership of the Callout Types and will need to relinquish". Below I will go through how I have been using the Username and Worksets so users cannot edit these standard elements. This forces them to ask the BIM Manager to update a title block, symbol or project setting rather than working in a silo or going their own way.

Step One:
Change your username. Go to the Big R and Options. Change your username. I have been using something obvious so they know they need to contact me before editing the item. BIM Manager, BIM Coordinator,….BIM Nazi if you like to live dangerously. DO NOT FORGET TO CHANGE YOUR USERNAME BACK AFTER SYNCING AND CLOSING THE MODEL!

Step Two:
Open up each model and go to worksets. I select the following and make these editable:

Project Standards:

Callout Heads
Elevation Marks
Generic Annotation (Graphic Scales, North Arrows, etc.)
Grid Heads
Level Heads
Revision Cloud Tags
Section Marks
Title Blocks
View Titles

Any views used to coordinate the model that you do not want designers to edit

Step Three:
After I make the worksets above editable I also go into the model and "borrow" the levels and project basepoint. If a level gets moved or deleted it can cause major problems. Same with the base point.

Syncing and Closing Model:
When you sync the model uncheck all the boxes circled in the image below. This will sync but it will not relinquish all these elements you took ownership. When you close the model be sure to "Keep Ownership of Elements".  If you relinquish you will have to open the model and check everything out again. After repeating this 10-20 times you will get these memorized and it will only take about 2-3 minutes to go through this process in each model. This could save valuable time fixing problems after they happen.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Structural BIM/Revit Specialist

We (Merrick & Company) are looking to fill a position for a Structural BIM/Revit Specialist. See link below for more info and how to apply.

Structural BIM/Revit Specialist

Monday, November 14, 2016

AU 2016

I'm at AU this year. Will be a Lab Assistant in David Butts Tuesday afternoon lab "Perfecting The System for Revit". Stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Navisworks Compare Models

I came across this video since I have been trying to find a good way to compare updated models as we recieve them from Arch/Struct. I'm sure there are several add-ins to do this but it is free (if you have software licences already). Also, good communication is always a good idea too rather than making assumptions.
If you follow the steps in the video below and click on the selection set in Navisworks (Simulate or Manage) you can right click on the selected elements in the Selection Tree then "Hide Unselected" to isolate the elements that are unmatched. This way you can only see the elements that have changed in the new model.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Double-Click Options

This is probably old news to some but it's new news to me! Saw this in the March 2014 issue of AUGIWorld ( I changed my settings so no more opening families when I double click! Lots of other great Revit Tricks in this issue!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Revit Phasing & Rooms/Spaces

Recently I was involved on a remodel project where we had to have a Demo Plan and a New Construction Plan. The model was set up with three phases (Existing, Demo and New Construction). An issue came up with how Rooms/Spaces associate with phasing. I will describe the problem and the solution I found to resolve this issue. There might be a better solution for this but this was the best I could find at the moment. For reference Revit 2014 was used.

The Problem:

Each individual element in the model is assigned to a phase. This includes things like walls, doors, windows, ducts, pipes, equipment and rooms/spaces. On remodel projects you could have several phases depending on the scope. To keep it simple say there are three phases (Existing, Demo and New Construction). A problem arises when you try to get two separate room boundaries to show up on the Demo Plan. For example, say you have two rooms and demolish a wall between them to make a larger room. The rooms could be bound to the wall that is being demolished but this will only show on the existing phase view. I could not find a way to get the two separate rooms to show when the view phase was set to Demo. Since I need to show a Demo plan and New Construction plan this didn’t work. See example below.  

Existing Phase View



 Demo Phase View



New Construction Phase View



The Solution:

Demo Plans- The best way I found to get around this issue was to create a Room/Space Symbol Annotation Family. This symbol would be placed on a floor plan view in the Architectural model. The other disciplines would go to the visibility graphics of the demo view and set the Architectural link to ‘by linked view’ referencing the floor plan they set up with the symbols placed in each room.

New Construction Plans- There really isn’t a work around needed for this. Just make sure all the rooms/spaces in the model are on the New Construction phase and tag them like normal.  


I tried changing the phase filters several different ways and could not get the existing rooms to show in the demo plan. Unfortunately this workaround is a bit tedious since you will have to add the room symbols on the demo plans in addition to the rooms/space on the new construction plans. Creating a view with the room symbols in the Architecture model that the other disciplines can reference will save some time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Equipment Maintenance Clearance


Here is a quick how-to and a few lessons learned when adding a maintenance clearance to equipment families. Sometimes these are missing from families that a provided by manufacturers or even out of the box with Revit.

1. Open the family and go to the Ref. Level plan view

2. Plan out where the maintenance clearance needs to be. For this family it will be on the right side where the pipe connections are.


3. Create the extrusion as a rectangle in this area. Don’t worry about the size just make it to the right of the pipe connections.


4. Align the extrusion to the reference planes on three sides. Lock these to the reference planes by clicking on the ‘pad lock’ that appears after you align each side. See arrows below for the three sizes to align.


5. Create an ‘aligned dimension’ from the left side reference plane (that the extrusion is aligned to) to the right side of the extrusion. Make this extrusion the desired width and click on the dimension and lock it. See image below.


6. Open the front elevation view and align the extrusion to the reference plane at the reference level and the reference plane at the top of the box. Be sure to lock these like step 4 above. See image below.


7. Test that the extrusion flexes properly when you change to difference types

8. Open the 3D View and change the Visual Style to realistic. All extrusions will show shaded grey.


9. Navigate to the manage tap and click on Object Styles

10. Create a new Subcategory and name it ‘Maint Clearance’. Keep this naming convention as consistent as you can. See image below for the line color and pattern.


11. Click on Create New Material and name it ‘Maint Clearance’.

12. Click on the material portion of the Maint Clearance Subcategory. The Material Browser will appear. Click on Create New Material and name it ‘Maint Clearance’.


13. Click on the Asset Browser (see image below) to open the material templates.


14. Select the Maint Clearance material you created and then go to the Asset Browser and search for Amber. With the Maint Clearance material selected double click on the Clear Amber material and it should apply it to the Maint Clearance you created.


15. Change the color of the Maint Clearance material to Red. Click ok to go back to the 3D view.


16. Click on the extrusion you created for the maintenance clearance. While this is selected go to the properties and change the Subcategory to Maint Clearance. The extrusion should now appear transparent red with a dashed outline.


17. Depending on how you wish to see the maintenance clearance you can set the visibility in the Visibility Settings for the extrusion. For example if you don’t want to see this on your plans that are set to medium detail only check the extrusion to appear in fine detail. That way you see it in working views only which should be set to fine detail.

NOTE: A solid extrusion is required rather than a void if you are exporting to Navisworks. A void will not work with collision detection.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Revit MEP Template

Below is a list of things I have setup in my template over the past few years. Some items are general and I don’t go into much detail since they can be different for each company or project. Keep in mind a template is a good place to keep one file up to date with everything you have learned along the way. The idea is to make things consistent, productive and easy to find on future projects. Often I’ll be working on a project or get a call on a project and notice something that needs to be fixed, tweaked or added. I always keep a list of things that I need to remember to update. Also, remember that the “Transfer Project Standards” feature in Revit can be very useful with previous projects.


·         A template can be saved as a Revit Template file type (.rte) or a central file with worksharing enabled. If you intent to build your typical worksets into the template it has to be a central file. Also, it needs to be determined if you will build all the MEP needs into one file or separate them by discipline. It can be easier to manage one template file rather than 3-4.

·         Levels & Grids
o    It is probably best to have only one level in a template. When a model is setup adjust this level to monitor the ground level from the Architecture model and copy/monitor all other levels needed. (Note: Levels can also be copy/monitored from the Structural model depending on the project)
o    Grids are typically copy/monitored from either the Architecture or Structural model when the project is setup.

·         Starting View
o    Typically a Legend or a Drafting View with some information about the template, model setup, standards, etc. I use a Legend.

·         Annotation
o    Set up Text Styles that will be commonly used.
§  3/32”
§  1/8”
§  1/4”
§  Width Factor (ex. 1.0 or 0.8)

o    Tags should match the Text Styles (most likely 3/32” or 1/8”)
§  Remember to update the Leader Arrowhead Style for each tag

o    Dimensions

o    Callouts

o    Sections

o    View Titles
§  These can vary by project so I just use the out of the box view title in my template.

o    Symbol Families
§  North Arrows
§  Drawing Scales
§  Keyed Note Symbols

o    Title Blocks

o    Space Tags – I use Space Tags that read the Room Name and Room Number so they don’t need to be updated.

·         Project Browser Organization

o    Separate a hierarchy of Sheet Views, Working Views, Discipline Views, BIM Coordination Views, Space Coordination Views (see previous post about organizing the Project Browser)

o    Legends
§  Default Symbol and Abbreviation Legends for each trade
§  Starting View
§  BIM Disclaimer
§  Project setup notes and how to use template
§  Common Alt characters

o    Schedules - Add common schedules for equipment and managing model parameters/information
§  Space Schedule
§  Drawing List
§  Calculating Schedules (ex. Pipe volume calc schedule)

o    Sheets – Set up typical sheets with typical numbers

o    Families – I keep a minimum amount of families loaded into a template. Families should be sourced and loaded into the model as needed on a project basis.

§  Families that should be included in a template are commonly used
·         Tag Families
·         Annotation Families
·         Symbol Families
·         Duct, Pipe, Conduit and Cable Tray Fittings
·         Duct, Pipe, Conduit and Cable Tray Types
·         Valves, Dampers, Equipment Curbs
·         Other generic families that can be used on most projects

o    Links - Typically loaded when the project is setup so there are no links in a template.

·         Working Views

o    Floorplan for each level

o    3D views (sometimes helpful to create a 3D view for each level on large projects)

o    Sections (Create two sections to move around when working)

o    Working Views should be set to Fine Detail and all links should be visible

o    Working View Visual Style can be set to Wireframe for faster regeneration

o    Ceiling plans for Lighting and HVAC Diffuser layouts
§  Set Ceiling plans to Coordination under the discipline in the view properties in order for the ceiling grid to show.

·         Worksets

o    Create worksets for different system types
§  I typically model everything on “Workset 1” or I set up a workset for each system type (HVAC, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Electrical, etc) unless the project requires more worksets. I use filters to apply colors to different systems in views.

o    Create worksets for each individual link
§  The workset needs to be set in each links instance and type properties
§  Link – Architecture
§  Link – Interiors (if applicable)
§  Link – Structure
§  Link – Electrical
§  Link – Mechanical
§  Link - Plumbing

o    I put all the Levels, Grids, Reference Planes and anything else that’s annotation related on the “Shared Levels and Grids workset”.

·         Manage Tab on the Ribbon

o    Mechanical Settings – Go through the mechanical settings and make sure they apply to your firms standards. Some common changes are below
§  Hidden Line
·         Inside Gap, Outside Gap and Single Line (1/32” or 1/64”).

§  Duct Settings – Rectangular/Round
·         Go through these and uncheck any sizes that are not needed in both the Size List and Used in Sizing

§  Pipe Sizes
·         Go through the pipe materials and select which sizes are needed. For example in a typical domestic cold water system pipes might be copper if they are 2 1/2” or less and steel if they are 3” and above.

§  Slopes
·         Set all slopes used.

o    Electrical Settings – Go through the electrical settings and make sure they apply to your firms standards. (I don’t get to work on electrical much if you cannot already tell)

o    Project Units

§  HVAC – Duct Size
·         Change Units to Decimal Inches and round to zero decimal places to remove the “ from duct sizes (ex. 10x10 rather than 10”x10”)

§  Piping – Slope
·         Change Rounding to the nearest 1/8” or 1/16”


o    Additional Settings – Line Styles

§  Add Line Styles for Detail line weights if applicable
·         Thin, Medium, Heavy (see blog post about revit detail libraries)

o    Additional Settings – Line Patterns
·         Add Line Patters for pipe types if applicable

o    Additional Settings – Tags
§  Edit Callout Tags
§  Edit Section Tags
§  Edit Arrowheads

o    Starting View – Set starting view to a Legend or Drafting View

·         Filters – Use filters to add colors to different systems in a view and to turn systems on/off.

o    Workset Filters – Filter by workset. Create a workset for each individual system type and create a filter for this system type. This works similar to layers in AutoCAD where you can assign a certain color to each workset filter.

o    System Filters – Filter by System Classification, System Name or System Abbreviation
§  System Classification – Used for systems where you might have multiple different Revit systems in one model. For example Supply Air Systems.
§  System Name – Used for systems where you only have one system in the entire model. For example a domestic cold water system.
§  System Abbreviation – Used for systems where you could have one or more systems in the entire model. For example domestic cold water (CW). This is what I use as a standard in my template.

o    Categories – Be sure to check all applicable model categories for each filter. I don’t check mechanical equipment or plumbing fixtures since these could have more than one system connected to one element.

o    Filter Rules(Equals or Contains)

·         View Templates – You can create view templates for use but keep in mind that since the template does not have any links loaded you will need to update these view templates after the project gets set up with the links. It might be a better idea to set up some general views for each discipline with the correct view settings.

o    View Detail – Fine for Working Views, Medium for Sheet Views

o    Visual Style – Wireframe for Working Views, Hidden Line for Sheet Views

o    Scale – Varies by project setup. 1/8” is a good scale to have as default.

o    Model Categories – All on

o    Annotation Categories – All on

o    Filters – Add filters to the view based on the discipline

o    Worksets – All on

·         Duct, Pipe, Conduit & Cable Tray Types

o    Duct
§  Rectangular and Round
§  Taps and Tees
§  Rectangular Beveled Tap
§  Round tap with damper

o    Pipe – can be more complex than duct depending on the system and material types. Keep in mind if you add custom fittings with custom lookup tables every user will need to install those lookup tables on their PC.
§  Sanitary
§  Vent
§  Copper (domestic water, hydronic, etc)
§  Steel (domestic water, hydronic, etc)

·         Print Setups

o    Add a setup for all possible sizes you might need to plot.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UPDATE - Creating Detail Libraries

*UPDATE 2-20-2013*

I recently added a numbering scheme to the details so they are easier to sort through when a user goes to insert from file. I added the sheet number/detail number to the begining of the detail name in the View Name property. Then I copied the detail name to Title on Sheet so this will not display on the view title when inserted.

Original Post: